Depending on your personal situation, your deadline to claim any or additional coronavirus stimulus money is Sept. 30 or Oct. 15. Miss the deadline, and you'll have to wait until next year for much-needed COVID-19 cash. Since it's still unclear if or when we might get another COVID-19 relief payment, it's even more important that every person who's eligible get all they can from the first stimulus payout. And to do that, a lot of folks need to officially touch base with the Internal Revenue Service. Soon. Like in a couple of days for some families. Wednesday, Sept. 30, is... Read more →


Earlier this month, the Internal Revenue Service implemented a push to encourage folks who didn't get COVID-19 economic relief payments to touch base with the tax agency to see if they're due any of this money. Overall, nearly 9 million individuals, or 8,863,344 to be exact, might be eligible for the stimulus help. That's a maximum of $1,200 per person, double that for married couples filing joint tax returns, plus $500 for each qualifying child. Millions of these economic impact payments, or EIPs, were sent automatically to qualifying individuals who had filed tax returns for the 2018 or 2019 tax... Read more →


Are you ready to go back to this? Or is working from home working out just fine for you? It's the last weekend of September. Not that calendars matter so much anymore to many of us — including me — who are still coronavirus quarantining. But time measurement and management are still important if you're working, or trying to, from home. States are in various degrees of reopening, meaning more of us have or will be heading back to our offices. Others, however, will continue to work from home, aka WFH. In fact, some companies have said they'll maintain remote... Read more →


Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine agents survey Alabama Gulf Coast damage caused by Hurricane Sally on Sept. 16. (CBP photo by Jerry Glaser via Wikipedia Commons) Tax changes connected to the historic number of storms this 2020 Atlantic hurricane season keep on coming. This week the Internal Revenue Service announced that some Alabama individuals impacted by Hurricane Sally, which made official landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama, on Sept. 16, now have until mid-January to deal with impending tax tasks. Sally actually began affecting Gulf Coast states on Sept. 14. That's the day cited by the IRS in... Read more →


OK, this is a bit of tax inside baseball, but I couldn't resist. There are The New Yorker tax cartoon face masks! The Condé Nast publication is selling 17 different tax-related versions of COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE). A few are New Yorker cover images, but most are cartoons. My favorite, even though I am more of a feline fan, is the dog accountant one by M.E. McNair. Close behind on my list is Roz Chast's 1040-FI, the form for the financially incompetent, and Bernard Schoenbaum's fatherly tax advice. I can't vouch for their coronavirus pandemic precaution effectiveness. And no,... Read more →


National Small Business Week 2020, like much everything else this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, is going mostly virtual. Small businesses always face a lot of challenges. This year, with the coronavirus pandemic posing myriad new operational and financial problems, things are even more difficult. During the Small Business Administration's (SBA's) celebration of this year's National Small Business Week, which runs through Sept. 26, the Internal Revenue Service has been highlighting some tax breaks for these companies. Key among those breaks are credits that can help smaller employers. Tax credits are particularly welcome because they provide dollar-for-dollar tax savings.... Read more →


Forgiven debt can help ease financial burdens, but it usually comes with a tax cost. (Image: CreditRepairExpert/Flickr) The Internal Revenue Service usually is all about information. It wants it from taxpayers getting money and it wants it from those issuing payments. Not so, however, with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that are forgiven under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It doesn't want to know about any of these forgiven loans. In fact, the tax agency has officially told lenders not to mess with Form 1099-C in connection with these special COVID-19 loans. Latest pandemic tax twist:... Read more →


These West Texas cattle don't appear worried about much. Their owners, however, have a lot of concerns, including severe weather that could hurt their ranches' profitability. If drought has caused problems, the IRS is offering them some tax relief. (Photo by Kay Bell) When we city folks think of disaster preparation and animals, we're worrying about how to keep our pets safe during and after a major Mother Nature event. It's a bit more complicated when the animals are part of your livelihood. That's why farmers and ranchers in the path of potential disasters, like the flooding that now's across... Read more →


Here are 12 scam avoidance tips, six for catastrophe victims and six for those who want to help. Tropical Storm Beta hanging off the Texas Gulf Coast Monday, Sept. 21, afternoon. Image courtesy the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Hurricane Center (NHC). The Atlantic hurricane season has already made the record books. Fires are devastating vast areas of the Western United States. Unusual weather events like the Midwestern derecho have wrecked homes and businesses. That means millions of folks are looking for help. There are many sources of assistance, from charitable organizations to help people deal with a... Read more →


Most states' final quarter of fiscal year 2020 took a revenue hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But their annual tax collections, which were probably mostly electronic instead of as official state quarters, wasn't as bad as many had feared. (Photo — and coin collection — by Kay Bell) Most states wrapped up their 2020 fiscal year (FY) on June 30. As you might expect, those annual financial numbers were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. What is surprising, however, is that states' revenue situations weren't as bad as many had feared given the tax issues created by the coronavirus. Fourth-quarter... Read more →


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was not the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). She was, however, a feminist and pop culture icon, and her death at age 87 is being mourned nationwide. She passed away last night, Sept. 18, at her home in Washington due to complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. Legal and popular recognition: Ginsburg in recent years was referred to by her fans as the Notorious R.B.G., a play on the name of the rapper Notorious B.I.G. who shared her Brooklyn birthplace. Her recognition beyond the bench also came from the Oscar-nominated... Read more →


The Brattain Fire near Paisley, Oregon, on Sept. 15, more than a week after it ignited. (Photo by Maj. Leslie Reed, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs, courtesy Oregon National Guard via Flickr) Tax season 2020 has been extended for some taxpayers. Unfortunately, the extra time to take care of tax tasks is because these individuals and businesses were threatened are dealing with the outbreak of wildfires in Oregon. The Internal Revenue Service announced that victims of the Oregon wildfires and straight-line winds that began on Sept. 7 now have until Jan. 15, 2021 to file various individual and business tax... Read more →


If you're hoping for a second COVID-19 stimulus check, it's looking like you're going to have to wait until after the November election for Congress to act. However, there is better financial pandemic payment news for millions of folks who didn't get the first coronavirus economic impact payment (EIP). Non-filers left out of first payments: Nearly 9 million individuals missed out on the first payment, notes the Internal Revenue Service, because they didn't file a tax return for the 2018 or 2019 tax year. That was the info the IRS used to send out the EIPs that were authorized back... Read more →


Taxpayers and their tax pros have faced many and new hassles this filing season, primarily because of COVID-19 challenges. Do any of these 2020 tax season situations qualify as an acceptable reason to waive associated filing penalties? Maybe. Technology, and especially tax tech, is great. Until it isn't. That was my reaction when I learned that a lot of tax professionals were left in the lurch yesterday when their tax software provider's e-file system crashed just as they were submitting — or trying to — businesses clients' tax returns that were due Sept. 15. The issue, as you can imagine,... Read more →


No gasoline necessary for electric vehicles like this Chevrolet Bolt, which instead is plugged in to recharge for the road. If you opt for an IRS-certified electric auto or light truck, you might get some tax break help on your purchase. Climate change is getting more coverage lately. People are paying attention to what's happening with Mother Nature here in the United States thanks to the opposing environmental takes by the two presidential contenders. On a more personal level for many Americans is that we're in the midst of one of the most active hurricane seasons ever — we're already... Read more →


Couple waiting to get married at San Francisco City Hall. (Photo by Brian Kusler via Flickr) One good thing has come of my self-imposed pandemic lock down. Seeking a distraction from the news channels I usually watch, I'm finally getting more of my money's worth from our cable account. I've been exploring the many channels the hubby and I typically tend to click right past. For the last week or so, I've tuned in to WEtv because of its run of CSI: Miami episodes. No judging, please! Actually, the TV is more like a talking lamp (really!). The dramatic intonations... Read more →


Man signing papers (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels.com) The Internal Revenue Service continues to go more digital, at least temporarily to make filings easier as we continue to deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Late last month, the IRS announced 10 forms that previously had to be signed in ink on their printed paper version. You can read about this first group of forms to be granted digital signature status in my Aug. 28 post. On Sept. 10, the tax agency added another six forms to the digital signer list. They are: Form 706, U.S. Estate (and... Read more →


If you get money that's not subject to income tax withholding, then this weekend's Saturday Shout Out posts are for you. Tuesday, Sept. 15* is the due date for the third quarter payment of estimated taxes. Our tax system is pay-as-you-earn. That's typically done by withholding from wages. But when there's no per-paycheck tax collection mechanism in place, the payment responsibility falls on the person getting the money. And the way it's done is through estimate tax payments. The type of earnings that typically trigger are full-time self-employment or occasional gig work income, investment earnings, rental income, certain alimony payments,... Read more →


Nearly 3,000 people in three states died on Sept. 11, 2001, in a coordinated foreign terrorist attack. On this 19th anniversary (or any day), you can honor their memories by helping those in need today. (Photo courtesy Corporation for National and Community Service) Today, Sept. 11, is Patriot Day. It's not a federal holiday. Federal and state offices are open. So are businesses and schools, where allowed by COVID-19 precautions. It is, however, a solemn day in the United States. On Sept. 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger airplanes. Two flew into the Twin Towers in Manhattan, causing... Read more →


Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback (and Texas Tech alum) Patrick Mahomes is back in action tonight as the NFL kicks off its 2020 season under special COVID-19 rules. (Image via GIPHY) The United States is going to try a bit of normal tonight with the kickoff of the 2020 National Football League season. Sure, America's favorite spectator sport is not quite there. The coronavirus pandemic means that the stands at Arrowhead Stadium won't be full as the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take on the Houston Texans. But most of us will be watching the NFL on television,... Read more →